29/01/2004

Ulster Unionist youth wing to be reconstituted by March

The Ulster Unionist Party have announced that a new youth wing is currently being formed and is expected to be formally ratified at the Ulster Unionist Party's AGM in March.

The announcement follows on from last night’s decision to disband taken by the Ulster Young Unionists Council, an affiliated body of the UUP.

A former member of the Young Unionists who supported the motion to disband is one of the key players behind moves to form a new youth wing.

Speaking this morning Queen’s University student Mark Dunn, a young Ulster Unionist from East Antrim, said: “The old structure of the UYUC was not serving the party or young unionists well. The disbandment is a hugely significant development as it gives me and dozens of other young Ulster Unionists the opportunity to re-constitute a Young Ulster Unionist wing of the party that, rather than being a largely un-representative affiliated body, can be an integral part of the party.

“As a student of Queens I have been approached by a significant number of Ulster Unionist supporters who felt that the UYUC was not a vehicle in which they felt they could express their brand of Unionism. They felt that the UYUC was more akin to a wing of the DUP than pragmatic Ulster Unionism.

Mr Dunn said he had already had a number of meetings with the UUP Chairman with a view to establishing to the new association as soon as possible.

It is expected that this new Ulster Unionist youth wing will be up and running after ratification at the AGM in March. The former UYUC was largely hostile to the policies and leadership of the UUP with a number of speakers who held anti-Agreement views regularly attending meetings.

“I and others feel it is a nonsense to suggest that the youth are abandoning the party, far from it, we expect a far larger number of young people to come onboard now than the eight or so people that formed the bulk of the UYUC,” said Mr Dunn.

It is understood that some of the former UYUC members will be joining the DUP.

(SP)

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